ArsTechnica has reported that Google pulled 13 applications from the Play Store after it was discovered that they were able to make unauthorized downloads. The apps are dangerous by the fact that they attempt to gain root privileges to allow themselves to remain on a device even after a factory reset. The apps have been listed below.
The infected software used a very interesting technique to make them appear safe with high download ratings and good reviews. Of course, however, that was all just a lie.
The apps are capable of using compromised devices to download and positively review other malicious apps in the Play store by the same authors. This helps increase the download figures in the Play Store.
The family of malware, known as Brain Test, that these apps are a part of has only been discovered (so far) on most third-party app stores, like 1Mobile Market. However, this is the first time Brain Test malware has been found on the Google Play Store.
When discovered, it was found that the apps weren’t doing anything but downloading and rating other Brain Test apps, but switches made to code running on a server exclusively accessed by the apps caused the software to gain other capabilities under the radar for other fraudulent purposes.
However these apps are explicitly dangerous to all Android devices, there’s a good chance they didn’t gain root access to the device it’s installed on unless it was rooted. Of course, however, if the app did make it onto your system and you can’t get rid of it, the only way of fixing it would be to back up your phone or tablet and reflash the device’s ROM.
For more extensive coverage of this malware outbreak, head over to the Lookout blog.